'Meaningful Writing' a blog post by http://www.campbellxemma.com

Meaningful Writing

It seems weird to tell people that I have a passion for writing, when I consider just how long it is since I last wrote something. I feel embarrassed when I tell people that all I’ve ever done is want to write, considering how poor I often feel my work is. When I was younger, I used to start about a hundred stories a week – I thought each idea was so brilliant, that they all needed to be heard. I often gave up after that initial excitement at beginning an idea wore off, but then it would reignite again when I would just switch to another idea. Every single thing I wrote, I would publish somewhere under various pen-names. I would constantly be daydreaming and thinking of ideas, often wondering how much people would love them when my stories would be adapted into big films. I miss the drive I had as a child, I knew that there were better writers out there, but none were telling stories as I wanted to.

I miss being so engrossed in wanting to read, that I would often finish multiple books a day. As a child I would sneak out into the hall and read stories, before running back into my room to pretend to be asleep if anyone was to come up the stairs. Now I find it hard to pay attention to books, I have so many bookmarks tucked in books that I’ve long since abandoned. Sometimes I get that spark back now and again, even if it’s just for one book or one article. That sense that something has moved me, that the writer has somehow managed to force through whatever barricades are now in place and ignite that passion again. I have always wanted to write work that would affect people in the same way.

I have often spoken about my mental health my mental health and how it affects me. Having Depression really does take a lot from you, and it feels so impossible to try and explain it to anyone whom hasn’t experienced it. That bleakness, that feeling like you’re stuck on the same path for the rest of your life. You can’t focus on any light at the end of the tunnel, because it’s long since been extinguished. Sometimes the only thing you have is this feeling in your chest that you are empty – it’s almost painful in a way, and eludes description. People will often tell you to just push yourself, and sometimes that’s all it takes. Most of the time though, it feels as though I am trying to write whilst the backspace key is jammed on – completely futile.

I feel as though I am stuck at a level which I am not comfortable with, but I don’t know quite what it is. I want to push myself to do more, but as soon as that idea comes into my head, I’m already talking myself out of it. When I was younger my motivators were seemingly purely internal – I wasn’t interested in what other people had to say about my writing, because all that mattered was that I loved every plot and character. Now as soon as I think of writing, I find myself worrying about what others will think of it. I almost need something to prove to myself that I am capable of writing – but you can’t get praise for work that you don’t write or share with anyone.

I think most, if not all, of my issues come from setting the bar unrealistically high. I want my work to move and inspire people, to comfort them and to make them feel something meaningful. I also want my work to be well received, but I constantly compare the ideas of success to how big established brands do. I look for external validation because I have forgotten how to validate myself. I feel guilty for wanting my voice to be heard – is it egotistical? is it wrong to feel like that? It is like I am constantly trying to be ten steps ahead of myself, and instead of managing to take it one step at a time, I end up just talking myself out of making that first step at all.

When I first started this website, I set out a long list of goals that I wanted to achieve. It’s coming up to a year since I’ve first started this website, and it’s safe to say that I failed them all. Even though I have never really shared those goals with anyone, I feel a burning sense of embarrassment at my failure. Over the year, I have allowed my fears to get in the way. I have ignored genuinely lovely praise in order to tear myself apart by focusing on imaginary criticism. I need to find that childlike confidence I once had “Who cares if they don’t like my work? I like my work” and that’s all that should matter. I need to stop trying to make work that is meaningful for other people, and start focusing on making work that is more meaningful for me.